All the things that make fall great get spotlight as annual Harvest Festival returns this weekend to Hayden |

All the things that make fall great get spotlight as annual Harvest Festival returns this weekend to Hayden

Monica Case, one of the co-creators of the Hayden Harvest Festival, still makes homemade caramel for the festival, which was taken over by the Parks and Recreation Department. The Harvest Festival, complete with Case's caramel, is from 2-5 p.m. Saturday at Dry Creek Park.
Case Enterprises/Courtesy photo

HAYDEN — Monica Case started making caramel four days ago. Owner of Case Enterprises, she helped start the Hayden Harvest Festival years ago alongside Bonnie Girton, and the duo held the event at GG’s Coffee Shop. That was a decade ago.

Now, Hayden Parks and Recreation hosts the event, which will be held from 2-5 p.m. Saturday at Dry Creek Park.

Case still helps out, making the caramel from scratch for the candy apple buffet. The amount of gooey golden caramel needed takes days for Case to make.

“I start making individual batches of a caramel I created over many different recipes over the years. Landed with this recipe,” she said.

The candy apple station lets people be creative while satisfying their sweet tooth. They can top their apple with caramel then lather in any insane combination of sugary treats they can imagine. That’s just one of many activities available for free at the Harvest Festival.

Parks and Recreation is bringing in hundreds of pumpkins, ripe and ready for purchase, but everything else is free. The event was slightly scaled back to reduce some proximity risks due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the core traditions have returned.

“We buy eight bins of pumpkins,” said Josh Jones, director of Parks and Recreation. “There’s 40 to 50 pumpkins in a bin and typically end up with half a bin at the end.”

Additionally, there is face painting, gourd painting, a picture booth, cider and a straw maze. Guests can also guess the weight of a pumpkin with the chance of winning the large pumpkin.

If you go

What: Hayden Harvest Festival

When: 2-5 p.m. Saturday

Where: Dry Creek Park, 513 S. Poplar St. in Hayden

Cost: Free admission

Case grew up in Maybell, and women in her town put on a similar event. So, Case and Girton wanted to offer up something for Hayden as a way to give back to the community. Now, a decade later, it’s a town-managed fling that brings in hundreds of people.

“Oh my gosh, it’s been a great thing,” Case said. “I’m so excited that Hayden Parks and Rec has taken it over. They can take it to the next level I wasn’t able to do. I still make the homemade caramel apple buffet.”

As the restrictions related to the pandemic start to vanish, Jones hopes the event could expand next year.

“We like what we have,” he said. “We just want more.”

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